VOL. XXV. AUGUST 15, 1904. No. 16.
Views from the Watch Tower........................243
Disbelief in Future Life
Church and State in France....................244
Antagonism Against Socialism..................244
The Stability of Zionism......................245
A Word to our Dear Colporteurs....................246
Elijah Instructed and Encouraged..................248
The Harvest and Gentile Times.....................250
Elijah Taken in a Whirlwind.......................251
Justified and Called..............................255
LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS AND REMITTANCES
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY "BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
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Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER, will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.
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GENERAL CONVENTION, BOSTON, MASS., AUG. 19,20,21
FOR PARTICULARS REGARDING CONVENTION ARRANGEMENTS, SEE LAST PAGE, THIS ISSUE.
NOTE THE DATES BELOW.
This Convention takes place in connection with the G.A.R. Encampment, for which the railroads have made very low excursion rates. For rates and routes inquire of your nearest Railroad agents. Tickets will be on sale as follows:--
In "Central Passenger Association" territory--west of Pittsburg, Buffalo, Parkersburg and Wheeling, to Chicago and St. Louis, etc.--from Aug. 12 to 14.
In "Trunk Line Passenger Association" territory--east of Pittsburg, Buffalo, etc., to New York City, Albany, etc.--from Aug. 13 to 15.
In "New England Passenger Association" territory-- east of Albany, New York City, etc.--from Aug. 13 to 16, except from points within 150 miles of Boston; from the latter places the purchasing dates are Aug. 15 to 18.
In each case journey must begin before midnight of last date named.
Anyone residing within the "New England Passenger Association's" territory unable to take the "G.A.R. Excursion" above mentioned at the dates named, should ask for an "Excursion Certificate to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's Convention at Boston, Mass." He will pay full (one way) fare for the certificate but will be entitled to a return ticket at a reduction, provided 100 such tickets can be shown. So, then, get the cheaper "G.A.R. Excursion" tickets if possible; but otherwise get the "Certificate" mentioned, and thus help others as well as yourself to lower rates than regular fare.
UNUSED "WATCH TOWER BIBLES."
Any of our readers having copies of the Linear Bibles with wide margins containing references to DAWNS and TOWERS, in good condition and not being used, which they desire to sell, will please advise us. There were only 5,000 of these Bibles published and since then many new readers have become interested in the "Berean Bible Studies," mentioned in the front part of those Bibles who would be glad to have the helps which those Bibles afford. We have constant requests and would have more if it were known that the Bibles were obtainable. The printing of a small new edition would be too expensive to be considered, and we doubt if there would be sufficient demand for another edition of 5,000.
The Volunteer distribution of tracts this year has been immense, and only now have we succeeded in filling all your orders. We have a reserve in stock now: if any of you find yourselves short, order all you can judiciously use.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
DISBELIEF IN A FUTURE LIFE DANGEROUS.
PROFESSOR GOLDWIN SMITH notes the fact that the tendency of our times is to destroy faith in a future life, or, as the Professor states it, faith in immortality. (We need not quarrel over terms, especially when the Professor's use of the word immortality, though less exact than our own, is the usual, the customary one in our day. In his use of this word, he is in accord with the teachings of the Scripture,--that God has provided a future life, through a resurrection, for every member of Adam's race.) We give extracts from his article, which was published in The North American Review, as follows:--
"It would seem that we have come practically to a point at which--evolution and the higher criticism having between them done the work of demolition, and the work of reconstruction, if it is ever to be done, being still in the future--no small part of educated mankind has renounced or is gradually renouncing the hope of a future life and acting on the belief that death ends all.
"A general contraction of views to the man's own life must apparently be the consequence of the conviction that this life is all. A man of sense will probably be inclined to let reforms alone, and to consider how he may best go through the brief journey of life with comfort, if possible with enjoyment to himself and in pleasant intercourse with his fellowmen. High social or political aspirations, or high aspirations of any kind, will hardly survive the disillusion.
"We have an interest in our own children. But otherwise what interest have we in the generations that are to come after us on which a religion of humanity can be founded? It is not a very lively interest that we feel even in the remoter members of the human race, to say nothing of those in the next street. Yet these exist; and of their existence we are conscious, and are reminded by the electric cable. Of the existence of future generations, supposing there is no future life, we shall not be conscious, and, therefore, for us they will not exist. We cannot even say with absolute certainty that they will exist at all. The end of man's dwelling-place and, therefore, of all human progress, science tells us, will be a physical catastrophe; and there are even those who seem to think that this catastrophe may be forestalled by a recurrence of the glacial era. Natural law, which science bids us venerate, departs, it must be remembered, with the lawgiver. Nothing remains but physical forces without a guiding mind, the play of which it is impossible to forecast. As to posthumous fame, it would be an arrant delusion, even if one man in a million could hope to obtain it.
"Whatever conduces to the enjoyment and prolongation of this life will probably be sought more energetically than before. Material progress, therefore, may quicken its pace. Nor is it likely that men will be quite so ready as they are now to throw away their lives in war. At present the soldier in facing
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death is probably sustained by a notion, however dim and vague, of a reward for the performance of his duty.
"It can hardly be doubted that hope of compensation in a future state, for a short measure of happiness here, though it may have been somewhat dim, has materially helped to reconcile the less favored members of the community to the inequalities of the existing order of things. The vanishing of that hope can scarcely fail to be followed in the future by an increased impatience of inequality, and a growing determination not to put off the indemnity to another world. In fact, this is already visible in the spirit and language of labor agitation. Serious problems of this kind seem to wait the coming generation.
"It would not be surprising if in this dissolution of the ancient faith and failure of familiar supports, there were to be a partial reaction in favor of churches which, like the Roman Catholic or the Eastern Church, can pretend to offer the assurance of authority and to still the disquieting voice of reason while they lap the disturbed soul in the soothing element of
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religious esthetics. A tendency of this kind is already seen in ritualism, which bids the doubting take refuge in the sacerdotalism and sacramentalism of the Middle Ages. But such a back-stream of opinion and sentiment would, of course, not be lasting."
He concludes, "After all, great is our ignorance, and there may be something yet behind the veil."
* * *
The Professor is an astute thinker and reasoner. He sees the trend of our times; he sees the advancing wave of unbelief which as a flood is even now increasingly sweeping over Christendom.
The Lord's Word has forewarned us of present conditions (`Isa. 28:14-20`; `29:9-16`; `Psa. 91:7`) and has cautioned us to "put on the whole armor of God that we may be able to stand in this evil day" (`Eph. 6:11`); and now, as predicted, the "fire" of this day is trying every man's work. (`I Cor. 3:13`.) Alas! how many have been building up in themselves and others faith in human traditions and creeds which now are "wood, hay and stubble" in the devouring flame of "higher criticism." Alas! how few have built up their own faith and that of others with the "gold, silver and precious stones" of divine Truth.
However, in this also "we sorrow not as others who have no hope." As we behold many falling away from a position they occupied only nominally anyway, and from a faith that was never more than superficial, and from a worship in which they drew near the Lord in lip service without the heart, we rejoice that for such the present "shaking" (`Heb. 12:26`) means not eternal torment nor even "Second Death," but an awful experience in this life which, under divine Providence, may work out for them a blessing during the Millennium.
Prof. Smith sees what the Scriptures so clearly show,--that the loss of faith at the end of this age will have much to do with the precipitation of the great time of trouble and anarchy with which this age is to finish. He sees this selfishness already manifesting itself as the Scriptures foretold it would do.-- `I Tim. 3:1-5`.
CHURCH AND STATE IN FRANCE.
Under the "Concordat," of long standing between the French government and the Papacy, France out of revenues and taxes has paid salaries to the Roman Catholic priests, bishops, etc. It is generally conceded that this arrangement will be dissolved about the first of next year. If so the support of religion will probably depend on voluntary contributions, as in this country. Roman Catholics assume that this will be a great blow to religious institutions: they seem to have little confidence in voluntary religion.
Nor are the Roman Catholics alone in their fears for the future; for as Protestants and Jews received like treatment in France the cancelation of the Papal "Concordat" is expected to mean a similar cutting off of Jews and Protestants from financial support. The twelve Jewish consistories of France and Algeria receive 220,000 francs ($44,000), or from 1800 to 5000 francs to each rabbi or minister. The Hebrews are, of course, somewhat agitated respecting this loss, and as to how fully it would be compensated for in voluntary donations.
The various Protestant ministers are perturbed even more than the rabbis and are calling for some kind of federative union among themselves, and the "Fraternal Committee" has been appealed to--to see that the interests of the Reformed churches be taken care of in the parliamentary action on the proposed separation. France has been paying annually to Protestant ministers 1,500,000 francs ($300,000).
A few Protestants seem to take the proper view of the matter--that such support from the world is contrary to the best interests of true religion. Thus, gradually, France is getting ready for the great wave of "trouble such as was not since there was a nation."
THE ANTAGONISM BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND
"M. Anatole Le Roy-Beaulieu, in a recent lecture delivered at Harvard, one of a series dealing with religion and democracy, commented on the antagonism between Christianity and socialism. Socialism, he admitted, is founded upon a love of humanity, and many of its elements are to be found in Christianity. Their ideals have much in common. 'The aspiration of the socialist is the renovation of society: that is also the Christian ideal. Montesquieu, in the eighteenth century, marveled at the fact that Christianity, preoccupied as it is with the affairs of the other world, has contributed so evidently and so much to the improvement of the life upon earth.' Yet, in spite of these analogies, M. Leroy-Beaulieu discovers differences so radical between the spirit of Christianity and the spirit of socialism that he believes their conflict to be vital. On this subject he said further, according to the report of his lecture in the Boston Evening Transcript:--
"'Christians and religious men in general have as their object the improvement of conditions. Communist ideas are indeed found in the Church--as we have seen in an earlier lecture. But until the present collectivist ideas have succeeded in the Church only in monasteries, in convents, in sects which are founded upon contempt for the world. So Saint Francis of Assisi, for example, might be cited as a kind of socialist or democrat. But what was his ideal? The conquest of riches? On the contrary, poverty was the first article of his profession and the virtue that he chiefly preached. This is far indeed from the idea of modern socialism. What the socialist of to-day
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wants--if not for himself, then to divide among others --is the world's money.
"'Again, there is a vast difference in the methods as well as in the ideas of socialism and Christianity. We mean, of course, the general spirit of Christianity. We do not include all Christians in our generalization. The spirit of Christianity's method is one of love toward God and man. Charity is the great idea--did not some one say the only innovation? --of Christianity. Christ's words were, 'Peace be with you.' This was no working formula, no catch-word. It was genuine. Christ toiled for peace. Not so the modern socialist. Peace may be their ultimate object, but it is a peace which can be attained only by means of war. In the modern socialist's conception of the word, Napoleon himself fought for peace. None of the socialists tend to any other method. French, Italians, Germans, Russians--so they be socialists-- are unanimous that the only way to establish the peace they aim at is through a war of classes. M. Jaures, the poet-politician, is a type of the class.
"'It follows that socialists as a body oppose the doctrines of love and of long suffering that characterize men of religion. The calming of class strife, the appeasing of civic tempests by the oil of charity does not appeal to them. Religion, according to Jaures, is 'une vieille chanson'--the cradle song that lulled the restlessness of old. It is not the martial music which is needed for the battles civilization has to fight today.
"Far deeper than appears at first sight lies the gulf that separates Christianity and socialism. The socialist has his religion, but it is neither Judaism nor Christianity. These faiths place their ideal in another world--to turn men's eyes to the treasures in heaven was the object of their teaching. Socialism-- the religion of positivism and materialism--pins its faith to the treasures of earth. It is not hard to appreciate the reasons why a man who regards his life on earth as a brief trial is willing to submit with patience to injustice. For the socialist it is different; for him this world is everything. It is manifestly incumbent upon the socialist leaders, then, to snatch from the masses every semblance of belief in a world to come. There is but one expedient for them: if they are to remove the hope of a heavenly paradise, they must compensate, they must offer an earthly paradise in its place.'
"The religious plan, the lecturer continued, is to develop not war, but love among men, and by means of that love for the fraternity, which is the proposed aim of the socialists themselves. 'Christianity, then, has the better methods for attaining the socialistic ideals; and thus, after all, socialism, if it means what it professes, makes a serious mistake in its warfare upon Christianity."--Literary Digest.
THE CONFLICT BETWEEN CATHOLICISM AND SOCIALISM.
"It is an indubitable fact that, notwithstanding appearances to the contrary, Europe is now decatholicizing herself. One might even go further with safety and say that she is dechristianizing herself. Slowly but surely, with the irresistible movement of a geological subsidence, faith is waning among the industrial workers, and even among the peasants. In Belgium,
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in France, in Germany, the workmen who follow no particular creed number hundreds of thousands--yes, millions--and as their hopes of any heavenly kingdom dissolve other hopes assert themselves with a growing intensity. Wherever free thought penetrates Socialism enters also.
"Frightened by the socio-industrial consequences of free thought, an increasing section of the rich class leans toward the church, and especially toward the Roman Catholic Church, which is regarded by all as the strongest bulwark of the capitalists' interest. The apparent clerical reaction is thus shown to be in fact a corollary of the decline of faith amongst the masses. But it is nevertheless true that the alliance of priest and capitalist, the coalition of spiritual and temporal power, against Socialism and free thought, furnishes the conservative and reactionary parties with formidable means of action and constitutes the most redoubtable threat against the immediate future of European civilization. It is a contest between the Black International and the Red International. On the one hand are all those who hold that authority should descend from above, and who find in the Roman Catholic Church the most perfect expression of their ideal, the most inflexible guardian of their class privileges; on the other hand are those who insist that authority shall come from the people, and who, by the logic of circumstances, can found their hopes on nothing but Social Democracy."--New York Independent.
THE STABILITY OF ZIONISM.
The death of Dr. T. Herzl, the principal leader of the "Zionist" movement among the Jews, is seemingly a serious loss--calculated to hinder the progress of the movement for the reestablishment in Palestine of a Jewish State under the protection or suzerainty of Turkey or the great powers of the world. However, from another standpoint it may do good--teaching those interested that they must trust not in man but in God. The time for regathering of faithful Jews to Palestine is due, according to the Scriptures, and it will not be long until the "door" of opportunity opens to them. The Lord is the real leader of the movement and he will guide in his own way. It is understood that Dr. Herzl looked with considerable favor upon the British Government's offer of all that the Jews at present desire, in a location far south of Palestine, in Africa. Dr. Herzl's continuance at the head of the movement might have proved inimical to the interests of the divine arrangement centered in Palestine. "Behold I will gather them out of all countries whither I have driven them....Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them."--`Jer. 32:37-42`; `31:27-40`.
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A WORD TO OUR DEAR COLPORTEURS.
WE want you each and all to realize that you are continually, daily, in our thoughts and prayers. We know exactly what your general experiences are, and are anxious to assist you in every possible manner. Firms that prosper in the subscription book business --in expensive books yielding large profits--drill their new agents for about a week on just the words to say and just the tone and emphasis to give them to make the best impression. We regret that this is impossible with us; but neither is it as necessary as with "book agents." Our Colporteurs are in the work "for the love of it"--for the love of the Truth--and the animation and emphasis of their presentation are not "put on," but are the spontaneous utterances of their hearts. Over three hundred are now actively engaged in this blessed service in this country alone, and not one of them follows it as a business,-- all recognize it as a ministry of the Truth and themselves as "ambassadors for God" to his true children.
But zeal requires knowledge to make it the more effective. Knowledge on the subject of colporteuring comes from experience, and our experience covers years and is world wide. Hence it is both our duty and our pleasure to assist the dear devoted Brethren and Sisters engaged in the Colporteur service.
We perceive that some full of zeal and enthusiasm on entering the work soon become discouraged from lack of success, while others, who start timidly and fearfully, do well. The reason for these peculiar conditions evidently is that the latter give the more careful heed to the printed instructions, while the former, too self-reliant, fail to profit by the experiences of others thus supplied. None should attempt a "method of his own" until he has been in the work at least three months, using one of the successful methods presented in Hints to Colporteurs.
We have found that some Colporteurs get poorer results with larger experience; and we have learned to attribute such a retrogression to a gradual change of "method" to a poorer one, often unconsciously. All these reasons lead us to present below four of the most successful methods now in use amongst our dear Colporteurs. They are all alike in that they are brief, and do not discuss or even mention the doctrines, nor attempt to prove or argue Scripture. Many of the dear friends err in not observing this point. To attempt to tell the plan of God in a few words is to spoil matters and neither you nor your auditors have time for a lengthy discussion. The six volumes of DAWN treat the plan in the proper order and as briefly, we believe, as it can be clearly expressed.
Make note of the interested ones and call back to see them after they have had time to read. Then you can talk as far as they have read, but if "wise as a serpent," you will not talk much beyond that point, but deepen their interest in their reading by continually referring their questions to the books which they then will have.
When referring to the price, usually say, "Only thirty-five cents;" in contrasting say that "books on such topics usually sell for a dollar and a half each." But when referring to the price of a set say "only two and a quarter," making no mention of "dollars" this time because, unconsciously to the person, the price appears more trifling than if the word "dollars" be used.
The fourth method mentioned below is intended specially for use in a new edition of these books which will have the general title, "Studies in the Scriptures." instead of "MILLENNIAL DAWN." Some sets of these will be ready (for trial by Colporteurs to test whether or not the new name will help in effecting sales) about October 1st. Whether or not the new name will later be abandoned, or ultimately supersede MILLENNIAL DAWN we leave to the Lord's providence to determine.
Good morning! I am doing a little Christian work in this neighborhood; may I have a moment of your time? [If an opportunity is given enter the house.]
The Bible and Tract Society of Allegheny, Pa., which I am representing has prepared some systematic studies of the Bible, which have been a great blessing to many of the Lord's people, and we are endeavoring to place them in the hands of all who will appreciate them. I have a copy of the book, which I would like to show you. [Show book, preferably in your own hands.] It is a "Helping Hand" for Bible students, entitled, "The Divine Plan of the Ages."
This, the first volume of the work, takes up sixteen very interesting studies, all "meat in due season" for thinking Christians. The object of the work is to teach the study of the Bible systematically. All know that in studying the Bible a great many things are found that are hard to understand; this work takes up those difficult parts. For instance [pointing to the seventh chapter], "The Permission of Evil." We all have often wondered and asked why God permits evil, sin, sickness, suffering, death, and these awful and terrible disasters, etc., and why he does not prevent them when he has the power to do so. All this is beautifully explained and answered from the Scriptures, in this seventh chapter. It shows just why God has permitted sin and evil for now six thousand years, since the fall of our first parents in the Garden of Eden. It also points out God's promises for the final overthrow of evil in his own due time; when Satan will be bound, and the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth as the waters cover the great deep.
The sixth chapter treats of our Lord's return, and shows the object of his second coming--his work at that time,--that it will be a restoring of all that was lost in the Garden of Eden. In proof of this it gives the testimony of "all the holy prophets since the world began."
[I do not always bring in the next paragraph.]
The fifteenth chapter treats on "The Day of Jehovah" --the time in which we are living, and shows that the ever-growing conflict between Capital and Labor is clearly foretold in the Scriptures, and what the final outcome will be.
Chapters two and three I must tell you about; they are so helpful, especially if you have young friends inclined to be skeptical. The one gives evidences, aside from the Bible, that there is an all-wise Creator; the other thoroughly answers "higher criticism" and infidelity by the internal proofs that the Bible is inspired. These chapters alone are worth many times the cost of the entire set of books. As one reader has well said, "These helping hands to Bible study are worth more dollars than they cost in cents."
We have six volumes of this work, beautifully bound in cloth, similar to this first volume I am showing you, but averaging 500 pages. We sell them all for the very low price of $2.25, the usual price of one volume on such a topic. The title of the second volume is, "The Time is at Hand;" the third, "Thy Kingdom Come;" the fourth, "The Day of Vengeance;" the fifth, "The Atonement Between God and Man;" the sixth, "The New Creation."
I am only taking orders today, and will deliver next Monday [or whatever day you decide on].
[If this does not secure the order, give a brief outline of the Chart; and refer them to the Apostle's statement (`2 Tim. 2:15`), "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly
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dividing the Word of truth." Show them from the Chart how to apply and rightly divide the Word of truth:--]
This Chart shows the past dealings of God as related in the Scriptures, and also the future development of his plan; and it shows us just where we are on the stream of time. It is fully explained in the twelfth chapter.
[If an order for the set of six volumes cannot be obtained, urge that the first volume at least be taken and read--over a million and a quarter of them already issued.]
Pardon me. I represent the Bible and Tract Society. I thought you might be interested in the "Plan of the Ages." It explains why evil is permitted--sickness, wars, crimes, etc.,--something we are all interested in, and want to know more about. It shows that the Bible, when rightly understood, is in perfect harmony with itself and with reason, from Genesis to Revelation. More than a million copies of this book are now in circulation. It is unsectarian. The book is extremely interesting and makes plain so many points that have troubled us all our lives. It is truly wonderful how it opens up the Scriptures!
Aside from this it treats satisfactorily the important subjects and questions of the day, such as, What is the world coming to, into what are we drifting, religiously and socially.
This Chart is fully explained in the book, and shows how to "rightly divide" the Scriptures, in order to have perfect harmony from first to last. It awakens an absorbing interest in the Bible, and develops reverence and love for the Creator. Every presentation is abundantly substantiated by Scripture. I am sure you will enjoy reading it. The type is large, the chapters short. It has good paper and contains 380 pages. A cloth-bound book for thirty five cents! Think of it! Such books usually sell for a dollar and twenty-five cents.
If you prefer the entire set of six volumes, the cost is just two twenty-five for the lot. I am merely taking orders today; my delivery will be on__________day. You can pay then. Let me see--What are the initials? How do you spell your last name? Now,--Shall I bring you the complete set; six volumes for two twenty-five? Very well. I thank you, and you will thank me. I bid you good day.
Good morning! Excuse me, please, for troubling you. I am representing the Bible and Tract Society of Allegheny, Pa., and think you will be interested in our work. This Society sends us out to call the attention of Christian people to the MILLENNIAL DAWN, or PLAN OF THE AGES. Perhaps you have heard of it. There are already over a million in circulation, and the exceedingly low price of thirty-five cents per volume places it within the reach of all. The object of this book is to teach us to study the Bible systematically, so that we can understand it. No doubt you have noticed in studying the Bible that you often come to passages you cannot understand. This has been my experience, and I have often felt discouraged in trying to study the Bible without a system. However, I have found a great blessing through carefully studying the Bible in connection with this book. The author takes up matters that have never before been satisfactorily explained or understood; for instance, "THE PERMISSION OF EVIL AND ITS RELATION TO GOD'S PLAN." We have all wondered why God permits evil--sickness, death, calamities, murders, wars, etc. This book explains why these things are permitted, and does it from the Bible standpoint. The book also explains "THE OBJECT OF OUR LORD'S RETURN," "THE RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS," and "THE DAY OF JUDGMENT," subjects in which we are all interested, but which very few understand to their satisfaction. In this work the Scripture texts are given, so that you can refer to them as you read, and all can understand if they will.
There are in this volume sixteen chapters on the most interesting and important subjects in the world;--380 pages; nice paper; large, clear type; ALL FOR THIRTY-FIVE CENTS! There are six volumes of the work, averaging 500 pages each, all for $2.25, about the usual price of one volume on such subjects. I am merely taking orders today, for delivery next__________day. May I enter your name for a set?
[If purchase is declined proceed to show Chart.]
This Chart gives an outline of the whole plan of God, as revealed in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Beginning with the creation of man, it shows us just where we stand on the stream of time, and the progressive steps each one must take to become like our Lord. It gives the Divine Plan in order, and makes the Bible so plain that even a child can understand it. [Have memorandum book ready, with pencil in hand.] I am only taking orders today, and will deliver next__________day; you pay for the book when delivered. [Whether the other volumes should be further mentioned or not, depends upon interest and circumstances.]
Vol. II., "The Time is at Hand," treats of the manner of our Lord's SECOND ADVENT; it also gives a complete Bible chronology, which is very important in order to help us to understand something of the times in which we are now living. It has a long chapter on The Anti-Christ.
Vol. III., "Thy Kingdom Come," treats on various important themes also. It has one long chapter on The Great Pyramid in Egypt, with seven full-page illustrations of it. It shows that it is mentioned in the Bible, and is truly called "The Stone Bible."
Vol. IV., "The Day of Vengeance," takes up the affairs of the Church and the world in general; shows us the meaning of all the trouble and confusion around us, as explained in the Bible,--that the times we live in are a fulfilment of the Word of God. It shows what the outcome of the impending trouble will be, and also gives the only remedy, set forth IN THE SCRIPTURES! One chapter is an itemized explanation of our Lord's great prophecy, in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, and is worth more than the price of the set of books.
Vol. V., "The At-one-ment Between God and Man," explains everything connected with the ransom--why it was necessary; how it was accomplished; the separate and related works of the Father, Son and holy Spirit in connection with our salvation--with the Scriptures bearing upon these interesting themes. One chapter on "The Undefiled One" deserves special mention. It shows how Jesus was born of a woman without partaking of her sins or weaknesses as a member of the fallen race.
Vol. VI., "The New Creation," deals with everything pertaining to life and godliness affecting the Lord's consecrated people from start to finish--Church duties, home duties, family duties--everything. It has also one chapter on the natural creation, showing the harmony of the Genesis accounts with the facts of nature.
It is the most wonderful work that has ever been published on these subjects, and you get the complete work-- SIX VOLUMES--for only two twenty-five, the usual price of one such volume. These six volumes are a whole Christian library in themselves, and all for only $2.25, payable on delivery. May I take your order? This is the noblest cause in the world, and we all want to have a share in it.
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Pardon me if I intrude. May I ask, Is this a Catholic or a Protestant home? [After answer proceed.] Very well then. I am doing a little Christian work, in which I believe you will be interested.
Christian people are becoming more and more awake to the fact that a great tidal wave of unbelief is sweeping over Christendom;--not the blasphemous atheism voiced by Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll, but the cultured kind represented in the scholarship of our day, which makes the danger all the more insidious.
Not only are the great Colleges and Seminaries undermining the faith of the better educated, but the Common School books, and especially those used in the High Schools, are similarly inculcating a distrust in the Scriptures, a contradiction of its teachings. For a college graduate of to-day to declare his faith in the inspiration of the Scriptures would bring upon him the scorn of his companions--a scorn which few would court, or could endure. At very best, a few will be found to claim that they believe that Jesus and his Apostles were sincere, though they blundered in quoting from the Old Testament as inspired.
Such a belief in Jesus and his Apostles is no belief at all; for if present-day "higher critics" are wise enough to know when and where our Lord and his Apostles erred in their quotations from the Old Testament, then these wise men of our day are our proper guides,--more inspired than Jesus and his Apostles.
Our Society, realizing the need, is seeking to do all in its power to stem the tide and lift up the Lord's "standard for the people." It has prepared six sets of Scripture Studies (of which this volume is one) for the Lord's people of all denominations to use in lending a helping hand to all perplexed inquirers with whom they may, by God's providence, come in contact. These are supplied at bare cost, and can be had direct from the Society's warerooms or of its colporteurs, who are gradually reaching forth these helping hands far and near. These valuable "studies" are supplied at little more than two cents each;--16 of them well
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bound in a cloth case, embossed in silver, for 35 cents.
The thought is this: As a Christian man or woman you have children or relatives or neighbors or friends open to your influence--perhaps, indeed, seeking your counsel--asking, "How do we know that there is a God?" or, "What proofs have we that the Holy Scriptures are inspired?" It is no longer wise to call these silly questions, nor to ask, "Are you an infidel?"
However competent you might be to prepare answers to these and a score of other questions, you may not have the needed time and opportunity to do so. How convenient then to step to your book-case, take down the proper study on the subject, and to say to the inquirer, Sit down and read that short study, and the whole matter of your question will be fully and satisfactorily settled; and if your doubts ever again arise come over and read the same again.
Possibly you may be a member of an Epworth League or Christian Endeavor Society, or of a Baptist Young People's Union, and may be called on for an essay on some Scripture topic. How convenient to select one among these numerous studies (covering almost every topic) and to find therein the appropriate Scriptures cited. Ministers use them thus when composing special sermons and addresses.
Ministers who have large libraries touching every conceivable religious topic--many volumes costing $6 to $8 per volume--may not feel their need of these "Scripture Studies" but to others they are almost indispensable. Indeed, in addition to the price feature, which brings them within the reach of everybody--six volumes of over 3,000 pages for $2.25--the usual price of one such volume--they are written in pure, but simple English, whereas the "scholarly works" are replete with technical terms and only for the few.
We invite Christian people of all denominations to join us in our work of extending these "helping hands" to the rising generation. A single friend or relative helped--rescued from doubt or unbelief--would repay the cost of these studies a thousand times.
[Note.--Catholics seem to prefer the term Scriptures to Bible.]
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ELIJAH INSTRUCTED AND ENCOURAGED.
--`I KINGS 19:9-18`.--SEPTEMBER 4.--
Golden Text:--"Fear thou not,
for I am with thee."--`Gen. 26:24`.
ON Mount Horeb, Mount Sinai, is a cave called the cave of Moses, and it was toward this apparently that Elijah bent his steps, still heart-sore and discouraged, as he fled from Jezebel. It was here that the Lord appeared to him inquiring why he was there. His answer was that he was there because of his zeal for the Lord, because he was discouraged that the true worship in Israel had been set aside, that his reformation work had apparently been a failure, and, after all the miracles that the Lord had wrought through him, the people were seeking his life. In answer the Lord gave him illustrations of different ways of accomplishing results: First he caused a fierce wind to tear the mountains and break the rocks, but Elijah recognized that the wind was not the Lord but a manifestation of his power. Then an earthquake came, shaking the foundations of the mountains; but similarly the earthquake was not the Lord but merely a part of his power. Then came a fire; but the fire was not the Lord. Then a still small voice, and this voice, when Elijah heard it, he recognized as being the Lord, and in humility and fear he covered his face.
"NOT BY MIGHT NOR BY POWER, BUT BY MY SPIRIT."
The antitypical Elijah, the saints, as they look about them and see the world in general in idolatry, and even the Lord's professed people largely given up
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to the worship of fashion and the idolatry of wealth and fame, are very apt to feel discouraged--to feel as Elijah did, that they are quite alone. They are very apt to wonder why God seems so indifferent to the matter which so greatly concerns them. Why does he not overthrow all the altars of Baal? Why does he not overthrow Mammon? Why does he not bring in by his supreme power the great Kingdom of righteousness, which he has taught us as his people to expect? Why should we be more jealous for the Lord than he seems to be for his own name and cause? We need a lesson such as Elijah got, and we are getting that lesson.
We are learning that while God could have spoken to the world with force and power, as represented by the wind and earthquake and the fire, yet all of these would not have expressed to the world the Lord's real character. To know the Lord they must be permitted to hear the still small voice--the voice of truth, the voice of love, the voice of wisdom. Moreover, we see that the Lord is about to bring upon the world of mankind just such experiences as might be symbolized by these matters displayed to Elijah. The strong winds of war are to be let loose upon the world--indeed quite probably they are already being let loose. The effect will be the rending and tearing of earth, society, the nations. Then will follow a great earthquake, symbolical--a revolution--referred to in Revelation as so mighty an earthquake as had never before been known amongst men. (`Rev. 16:18`.) It will be a revolution which will affect all the governments of the world, socially, politically, financially and ecclesiastically. Following this will come the fire-- symbolical fire that will symbolically consume the earth, consume society. "The elements [society] shall melt with fervent heat, the earth [society] also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." Such is the symbolical description given by the Apostle Peter.
The same symbol of fire is used by the Prophet Zephaniah and is located at the end of this age in the words, "Wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, that I may pour upon them my indignation, even my fierce anger: for the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy." The very next sentence shows us that the fire of God's jealousy is a symbolical fire, and other Scriptures show us that it is anarchy that is thus figuratively brought to our attention; for it is to be followed by a time of blessing as the Prophet says, "Then [following the fire --the anarchy] will I turn unto the people a pure language, and they shall all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent."--`Zeph. 3:9`.
This "pure language" or pure message of God's Word, which the Prophet shows as following the fire of anarchy, is the still small voice of our lesson. Elijah recognized this to be the power of God for bringing blessings and fulfilling his promises to the seed of Abraham, and through it to all the families of the earth in due time. And so the Lord's people today, as the antitypical Elijah class, are learning that God will do his great work through the still small voice of the Truth in due time, and that the due time for it will not be until the storm, the earthquake and the fire shall have passed. "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."--`Isa. 26:9`.
"BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD."
These same thoughts are brought to our attention in the `46th Psalm`, in which the Lord, through the Prophet David, sets forth a picture of the time of trouble which belongs to the day of the Lord into which we have already entered--the day of trouble which will prepare the world for the great day of blessing, the Millennial day. In this Psalm the Lord represents the earth being moved, the mountains being carried to the midst of the sea, its waters roaring, its mountains shaking, etc. These things picture the commotions that are about to take place in the social, political and religious systems of the world. The Lord's people, the Elijah class, are represented in the Psalm as not fearing these things, because they constitute the Lord's holy city or holy Kingdom. Then in verses 6 to 10 the Lord gives an interpretation of the shaking and melting mountains, etc., as signifying the raging of the people, anarchy, the unsettling of the kingdoms, the melting or disintegration of society. As a result there will be great desolations in the earth: as another result all wars are to cease unto the ends of the earth, and then (vs. 10) comes the message which will be enforced throughout the Millennial age, "Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
This command, Be still, corresponds to the still small voice which Elijah heard--to what we as the antitypical Elijah are now hearing from the Word of God, namely, that not by earthly might nor by earthly power will the Lord establish his rule, but that in the coming time his King shall reign in Zion and execute judgments in the earth, rewarding the righteous and punishing the evil doer, with the result that all shall come to a knowledge of the Lord from the least to the greatest; that the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the sea; and with the further result that the Spirit of the Lord shall be
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poured upon all flesh, as the mouth of the Lord has promised. This is the glorious message which the Prophet declares results from the great atonement sacrifice made by our Lord; his statement is that the Lord gave himself a ransom for all--"to be testified in due time."--`I Tim. 2:6`.
After Elijah learned this lesson respecting the Lord's methods of bringing about the blessing, he was quite ready to follow the divine direction and to return to the land of Israel to make ready for (1) his own departure; (2) to appoint Elisha his successor as prophet and to instruct him for the service; (3) to outline the changes soon to come in the governments of Israel and Syria. He was further consoled and doubtless surprised by the Lord's declaration that he had yet 7,000 in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal nor kissed the image--which was the custom. Similarly the Elijah class has been encouraged of the Lord by an unfolding of the divine Word, that the blessings and reformation of the world will all come about in God's due time and manner--through the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom. Similarly the Elijah class has come to understand that there is an important work yet to be accomplished by it in the world: that there are thousands in the nominal systems who are not in sympathy with the errors there taught, who are merely confused and blinded by the misrepresentation of the divine character.
"BE OF GOOD COURAGE."
Elijah returned to the land of Israel, and apparently paid no attention whatever thereafter to Jezebel and her threats, but prosecuted a work of arousing true faith in the true God and obedience to his Law. He not only called Elisha, as directed of the Lord, but following out further directions or the spirit of the directions, he re-established what were called "schools of the prophets"--gatherings of young men desirous of studying the Law and appreciating the divine will. Thus we see that the awakening at Mount Carmel, witnessed by the heads of all the ten tribes of Israel, bore its fruit--that idolatry was at a discount thereafter, that Jezebel and Ahab evidently did not have it in their power to oppose or destroy these schools of the prophets, and, in general, the reformation work which Elijah was prosecuting. He is supposed to have continued this reformation work for some ten years or more after his return from Mount Sinai before he was taken up in the whirlwind.
The Golden Text of the lesson fits well to the antitypical Elijah class. These should realize that one with the Lord is a majority, and should not fear the words nor the deeds of humanity so long as they can realize themselves the Lord's servants, cooperating, serving, active in the line of his direction. The message to these is, "Fear not their fear, nor be afraid;" "Let not your hearts be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in Christ"--the Head of the body--and trust to his guidance and overruling according to his promise, which assures us that all things shall work together for good to them that love him. Why should we fear? What should we fear? "If God be for us who can prevail against us?" True, evil doers do seem to prevail at times--do really prevail against us--as, for instance, the Jewish Sanhedrin prevailed against our Lord to his crucifixion; but such prevailing is only seemingly against us. In reality, as the Apostle declares, it is working out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. We are to view matters from this standpoint, and to rejoice in whatever tribulation divine wisdom may see fit to permit to come against us, anxious only that our union and relationship with the Lord may be maintained.
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THE HARVEST AND GENTILE TIMES.
QUESTION.--If the "Times of the Gentiles" can be changed as suggested in the July TOWER, so that the anarchy will follow 1914 A.D., instead of preceding it, might not similar changes be made in respect to all the various lines of prophetic time-proof set forth in MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vols. II. and III?
Answer.--You are entirely in error. Not a figure, not a date, not a prophecy is in any sense or degree affected by the article to which you refer. Indeed the harmony and unity of the whole is the more fully demonstrated. Read again the article you refer to, "Universal Anarchy, etc." (July 1 issue), and you surely will see this. If it is not apparent to you upon a further study let us know the particular point of your difficulty and we will endeavor to make it plain.
The harmony of the prophetic periods is one of the strongest proofs of the correctness of our Bible chronology. They fit together like the cog-wheels of a perfect machine. To change the chronology even one year would destroy all this harmony,--so accurately are the various proofs drawn together in the parallels between the Jewish and Gospel ages. It would affect the ending of the Jubilee Cycles, the 1335 days, the 2300 days and the Times of the Gentiles, throwing out of gear all the wonderful harmonies of these in the "Parallel Dispensations."
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We commend to you a fresh and careful study of the presentations of DAWNS, Vols. II. and III., on these points. Evidently the time features of Present Truth all stand or all fall together, and we see no weakness or signs of their falling: on the contrary everything throughout the world is confirmatory of them.
And while it is true that the great mass of Present Truth is in many respects entirely independent of our "times and seasons," nevertheless they are so related that the latter are almost necessary to explain the former. For instance, without recognizing that we are now living in the "harvest" of the Gospel Age and in the parousia of the Son of Man, how could we account for our great increase in knowledge respecting the various features of the divine plan?
The easiest and best explanation of the "feast" now spread before us as the Lord's "household of faith" (indeed the only reasonable one) is that the Lord is now fulfilling his promise recorded in `Luke 12:37`: "Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself [as their servant] and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them." While these "things new and old" are handed from one servant to another and to the entire household, can any of us doubt that the Master himself is dispensing the delicious viands which so refresh us?
And if this be so it is a proof that we are in the "harvest" or end of this age just as surely as similar blessings marked the "harvest" of the Jewish age. And the times when these blessings have reached us corroborate the prophetic testimonies respecting when the harvest began (Oct., 1874 A.D.) and when it will end (Oct., 1914 A.D.), a period of 40 years, just as was the Jewish harvest. Unlike error, these things stand investigation and the more searching the investigation the more satisfactory will the results be, we believe, to those who are in the right attitude of heart --to those who seek not to cavil, but to know the mind of the Lord. To the "Israelites indeed" it is now "given to know" these things which are still mysteries to the world. Only "the pure in heart," the thoroughly sincere, the honest, are in the position to have the "ear to hear" this "knock" of the heavenly One (`Rev. 3:20`); only those who have the eyes of their understanding opened can discern the presence of our King; only those who hunger and thirst for the Truth can properly relish things new and old, now so bountifully provided. These privileges are now restricted to the "meek and lowly of heart," and these conditions must be maintained or else this special hearing, sight and taste will be lost. Such loss in the Scriptures is styled "outer darkness" --the darkness and confusion in which we see the whole world now to be; but from which, thank God, there will be a rescue "in the morning"--when the Sun of Righteousness shall shine clearly forth, turning the outer-darkness into outer-light. But for such, meantime, there is necessarily a great "shaking" and "horror of great darkness" and trouble.
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ELIJAH TAKEN IN A WHIRLWIND.
--`2 KINGS 2:1-11`.--SEPT. 11.--
Golden Text:--"He was not,
for God took him."--`Gen. 5:24`.
THE words, "When the Lord would take up Elijah," suggest that Elijah had a specially protected life--that it was not subject to the power of his enemies--that he was wholly under divine control. And this is true also of the antitypical Elijah class of this Gospel age. It was true, we remember, of the great Head of this class, Jesus in the flesh. The scribes and Pharisees made many attempts at his life before the successful one, but could not harm him previously because "his hour was not yet come." So with every member of his body in the flesh, every member of the Elijah class--not even a hair of their heads could fall without divine notice and permission. These are not to esteem that any of their affairs are accidental, for being fully consecrated to the Lord and fully accepted by him, all of their affairs, great and small, are under divine supervision--their health or sickness, their rights or privileges, their joys or sorrows.
We are not in this wishing to intimate fatalism, but rather a divine supervision. If trials and disciplines and corrections, either of poverty or sorrow or ill health, be necessary for the correction of these they will surely have them; and some or all of these may
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come to them even though not as chastisements, but as lessons of experience necessary for their development for places in the Kingdom or for their usefulness in the Lord's service in the present time--as was the case with our Lord. Those who are of the Elijah class, fully consecrated to the Lord, will be glad to have this divine supervision of their affairs and will rejoice in it. This, however, would not mean that they may not and should not do whatever would appeal to them as being wise and reasonable for the maintenance of their health or its recovery, for the satisfying of their hunger or thirst, or for the betterment of their temporal interests. But while using what to them may appear to be reasonable means,
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they will consider that these also are all in the hands of the Lord, and, if successful, that they are his provision, to be accepted with thankfulness; while, if unsuccessful, they will be willing to accept the results without murmuring--with full assurance of faith that God is able to make all things work together for their good.
AT THE SCHOOLS OF THE PROPHETS.
Elijah and Elisha were at Gilgal, one of the cities at which was located a "school of the prophets," where piously inclined young men sought instruction respecting the divine Law under the supervision of those who were recognized as prophets, and with a view to become doctors or expounders of the Law of God in the various cities in which they lived. Elijah and Elisha had been at this place for some time, and now Elijah proposed a journey, suggesting that Elisha go not with him. The latter, however, would not forsake the older prophet, whom he styled his master, and toward whom he performed the duties of a body-servant. So they went together to Bethel, at which was located another "school of the prophets." We are not told how long was the stay at Bethel, nor what the prophets did or said at the school, but we do know that the pupils, known as the sons of the prophets, came privately to Elisha and in confidential whispers asked him if he was aware that the Lord was about to take from him his master Elijah.
Elisha's answer was that he did know it, but did not wish to discuss the matter. Evidently he was filled with sorrow at the thought of the loss he was about to sustain, for everything indicates that during the ten years or more that he had been Elijah's servant and co-laborer in the prophetic office, a deep personal attachment had sprung up between the two men, who in some respects were very dissimilar. Again Elijah suggested that Elisha should tarry while he would go on to the city of Jericho; but again, with strong vociferations of his earnestness, Elisha declined to leave his master. When they arrived at Jericho Elisha had a similar experience, the sons of the prophets again asking him whether or not he had heard of the Lord's intention to take up the prophet, and again he refused to discuss the matter. For the third time Elijah suggested to him that he tarry while he would go farther under the Lord's direction, not to a city but to the river Jordan, but Elisha would not tarry and they went on.
These visits to the schools of the prophets before Elijah was taken away doubtless had a beneficial effect upon these students of the Lord's Word, who well knew the aged prophet and his allegiance to God and God's power manifested through him. This last visit would be impressed upon their minds and go with them to the various cities of Israel in due time. Meanwhile the revelation which had been made to them, that God intended to take Elijah by a whirlwind, would prepare them for this final miracle and attestation of him as a servant of the Almighty. Apparently the prophets of this last school, fifty in number, while modestly refraining from following with Elijah and Elisha, nevertheless were deeply interested in the event they knew was about to take place. They went to a prominent point near Jericho, high above the river Jordan and overlooking it, and there witnessed what transpired. In the distance they beheld Elijah take off his mantle and roll it into the form of a club, and therewith smite the waters of the river Jordan, dividing them so that the two passed over as the Israelites had previously done by the miracle which the Lord wrought through Joshua at very nearly the same point. On the prophets went, up the steep hillside beyond Jordan--quite possible Mount Nebo, where Moses died.--`Deut. 32:49,50`.
HARVEST SIFTINGS TYPIFIED.
There has been considerable speculation respecting this account of the three times and places at which Elijah invited Elisha to part company with him: that Elijah was too modest to desire many witnesses of the final manifestation of God's favor toward him, or that he wished to spare Elisha the sadness of the later parting; but these suggestions are not satisfactory to us. To our mind these were a feature of the type whose antitype must be expected in this present time. As Elijah represented the consecrated ones who will as overcomers constitute the body of Christ and become participants with our Lord in the glories of the Kingdom in the first resurrection, so apparently Elisha would represent a consecrated class of this time, in some respects inferior. These will have an acquaintance with the Elijah class, will minister to them in various ways, yet not be identified with them as members of the same death-devoted company.
In harmony with this illustration or type we shall expect that, as the present age draws to its close and the Elijah class passes away entirely, there will come various siftings or testings to this class of inferior consecration to separate them from the company and fellowship of the Elijah class. Whoever will fall away in this sifting will cease to belong to the Elisha class. Those who endure the siftings and testings will thus maintain their position in the Elisha class, and some will thus continue according to the type down to the very close of Elisha's experience, and will then in consequence of this faithfulness receive a great blessing--a double portion of the Elijah spirit.
As the two prophets went on Elijah said to Elisha,
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Make request what I shall give thee, as I go from thee shortly. Elisha's request for a double portion of the spirit of Elijah is not to be understood as meaning twice as much of God's power as Elijah possessed, for this would have constituted Elisha a prophet of double the power of Elijah. Besides, how unreasonable a request would it have been for him to make-- that Elijah should give more than he himself possessed. We must understand him, therefore, to mean that if Elijah's spirit or power would in any wise be remaining with any prophets in the earth who would represent the Lord, that Elisha desired that he might have twice as much as any other one--not selfishly, we may assume, but that he appreciated Elijah's disposition and position as a servant of God, and desired that as far as possible he might enter into a similar work of service. His request was granted conditionally, but he was told that it would be dependent upon his own watchfulness.
The lesson which we draw from this request of Elisha and the conditions of its fulfilment is that the consecrated class whom he represents in the end of this age will need to be on the alert if they would discern the passing away of the Elijah class, and that only in proportion as they do discern the completion of the Elijah class and its passing into glory will they become the recipients of a proportionately large measure of the spirit and zeal of the Elijah class. From the Scriptures we get the thought that after the Elijah class shall have been completed, tested, proven and glorified, there will still remain a period of time before the full ending of the "present evil world" or dispensation--before the full inauguration of the Millennial glories. During that period the class which we believe Elisha represented--namely, a consecrated class, but lacking in some measure the full spirit of devotion exhibited by the Elijah class--will be quickened and energised by the change of dispensation and the evidences of the fulfilling of the divine plan, so that thereafter they will be practically as devoted and self-sacrificing and zealous every way as the Elijah class had been.
The receiving by Elisha of power from the departed Elijah seems to correspond in considerable measure to the "foolish virgins" getting their oil and being able to trim their lamps after the "wise virgins" have gone in to the wedding and the door is shut. As the foolish virgins were not evil but good--"virgins" --so Elisha was not an evil man but a good man and a prophet: as the foolish virgins lacked something that the wise virgins possessed, so Elisha lacked something of what Elijah possessed, and that lack, which was supplied to the foolish virgins in the oil, is represented in Elisha's case in the mantle and blessing.
As the Parable of the Virgins does not go on to show what happened to the foolish virgins except that they failed to enter into the marriage because the door was shut, so the Elisha picture merely shows that Elisha did not accompany Elijah, but on receiving his benediction and power he continued for a while the work that Elijah had been doing. So it is our thought that during the great time of trouble there will be a consecrated class who had not a sufficiency of zeal in self-sacrifice to be counted of the Lord as members of the Elijah class or body of Christ, who nevertheless will experience a great time of refreshing and become thoroughly devoted after they realize that the Church has been glorified--after they begin to see also the fulfilment of various Scriptures respecting Babylon. This class, whom we understand to be represented in the Scriptures as the "great company," whose number no man knows, who wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb, and eventually come up to spirit conditions, though not to be of the Royal Priesthood in the throne (`Rev. 7:9-17`)-- these are represented as recognizing by and by that the little flock, the Bride class, the Elijah class, have
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passed beyond the vail and they are shown to rejoice accordingly, saying, "Let us be glad and rejoice and give glory to God, for the marriage of the Lamb is come and his wife hath made herself ready!" This class in turn, though not worthy to be the Bride, the wife, is invited to participate in the great marriage feast which is to take place shortly after the glorification of the Church.--`Rev. 19:7-9`.
ELISHA, IF A TYPE, A DOUBLE ONE.
We might here remark that although we are treating Elisha as a part of the type as well as Elijah, yet there is nothing in the Scriptures that positively intimates that this is the case--it is a mere inference. In Elijah's case, as we have already pointed out in a previous lesson, there is no doubt; beyond peradventure Elijah was a type of the elect Church in the flesh. But if Elisha was a type, we believe that we are justified in considering him a type of two classes. First, of the class already suggested, who are with the Elijah class and who maintain relationship to the close of Elijah's period and who then become partakers of his spirit. And this type would seem to extend as far as Elisha's re-crossing the Jordan, smiting it with the mantle of Elijah. If the crossing of Jordan into the land of Canaan be taken to represent death, then the picture should be read as indicating that this "great company" will all pass through death, which is just what the Scriptures elsewhere seem clearly to show-- that in order to be on the spirit plane at all it will be necessary for them to "all die as men."
In this view of the matter we assume that Elisha,
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after crossing the Jordan and entering Canaan, would represent another, a different class, namely, the earthly phase of the Kingdom--Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets, the beginning of the restitution class. Elisha's work after crossing Jordan was restitution work in many respects, and in this particular would well correspond to what we may expect of the earthly phase of the Kingdom after its establishment --after the great time of trouble. But again we remind the reader that the typical character of Elisha is not beyond question, as it is nowhere affirmed in the Scriptures, but merely inferred by us because of his association with Elijah.
CHARIOTS OF FIRE AND HORSES OF FIRE.
The record is that Elijah and Elisha were separated by chariots of fire, but that Elijah was taken up not by these but by a whirlwind into heaven (margin). We might draw different inferences from this, but feel safer to adhere closely to the wording of the text. The fiery chariots and horses we infer to be a part of the type, and shall not be at all surprised to find the fulfilment in severe persecutions which will come upon the last members of the Elijah class--persecutions unto death possibly. If this be the correct interpretation of the type there would be a special significance attaching to Elisha's seeing the departure of Elijah. It would seem to signify close personal friendship and loyalty between them down to the very close, and that the effect of these fiery trials would be to energize those who had previously been less energetic in the carrying out of their consecration.
The whirlwind in the type should be interpreted, in harmony with general Scripture usage, as signifying a fierce trouble--a trouble, too, which would agitate the heavens or ecclesiastical powers as an earthquake would represent disturbances of the social conditions. Thus read in advance of the fulfilment the type seems to imply that the end of the Elijah class will occur amidst great ecclesiastical commotions, accompanied by fiery trials--thus we think probably the change will come to the last members of the elect "body."
"HE WAS NOT, FOR GOD TOOK HIM."
Our Golden Text relates to Enoch, but is not inappropriately applied by the Lesson Committee to Elijah, for what was true of one was apparently true of the other also. Enoch, the faithful prophet of old, whose only prophecy recorded is his announcement of the second coming of the Lord to execute righteousness in the earth and to convince the gainsayers (`Jude 14,15`), suddenly disappeared from amongst men, and the inspired record is that he was not found because God had taken him; and so likewise Elijah, having served his mission, disappeared from amongst men for God took him. True, the sons of the prophets suggested to Elisha afterward that perhaps the Spirit of the Lord, which had taken him up, would drop him down to some other portion of the world, but there is nothing to confirm such a supposition. "He was not found, for God took him."
The question arises, Where did God take these two prophets of old? and there is no answer to the question. True, in Elijah's case it is stated that the whirlwind took him up into heaven, but the word heaven here is used to represent the sky, the circumambient air, and has no reference whatever to the heaven which is God's dwelling place. That neither of these prophets went to the latter place we have the very best evidence in our Lord's words, "No man has ascended into heaven save he which came down from heaven, even the Son of man."--`John 3:13`.
We can only conjecture respecting these two prophets, and our conjecture is that they were not only taken away in order that their disappearance from the earth might be typical, but that possibly the Lord has taken them to some other suitable habitation, perhaps some other world, that in due time he might bring them back to earth and possibly thereby impress upon mankind some lessons which could not otherwise be so forcefully taught. For instance, he might thereby give the lesson of his abundant ability to fulfil any and every promise ever made to mankind. We have no thought, however, that Elijah has ever yet returned to this earth--we have no thought that he was present on the Mount of Transfiguration with the Lord and the apostles as already shown; we accept the Lord's testimony respecting the spectacle on the Mount--that it was a vision merely.--See our issue of April 1, 1904.
"DEATH PASSED UPON ALL MEN."
Some may be inclined to argue that Enoch and Elijah must have died, because the penalty of death was against them as well as against all the other members of our race, and because the Apostle reiterates this penalty, saying, "By one man's disobedience sin entered the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all for all are sinners." (`Rom. 5:12`.) We reply that nothing in our view, in our judgment, is in discord with this sentiment of the Apostle. The death sentence passed against Enoch and against Elijah as well as against the remainder of Adam's children, and wherever they are they must still be under that death sentence; they cannot be released from it until the full close of the antitypical atonement day--which will close synchronously with this Gospel age, which is its antitype. Wherever these two venerable prophets may be they are not perfected
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because, as the Apostle points out (`Heb. 11:38,40`), God has provided for us--the Gospel Church, the body of Christ,--some better thing than he provided for any of the ancient worthies, and they without us shall not be made perfect. We are confident, therefore, that Enoch and Elijah, wherever they may be, are not yet made perfect--they have not yet escaped from the bondage of corruption. They are still under the sentence of death and will be until that "curse" shall be lifted in the dawn of the new dispensation.
From the divine standpoint every one is dead who is either under the sentence or whose life to any extent has been impaired as a result of the curse. The whole world in this sense of the word is dead, and Enoch or Elijah can only be thought of or spoken of as alive from the standpoint of faith, even as we speak of ourselves who are accepted of the Lord as members of the body of Christ and as having passed from death unto life--namely, by faith, by hope. As we speak of ourselves and each other as alive toward God through faith in Christ, so we may speak of Enoch and Elijah as alive through the merit of the great sacrifice at Calvary, of which they shall partake actually in due time, becoming actually alive and being made actually perfect.
"CHANGED IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN
As for the change of the Church, the Elijah class in the flesh--precursors or forerunners thus of the anointed body in the Spirit--the change of these members at this time the Scriptures clearly indicate to be one which the world will not recognize. As the Scriptures declare, although we are sons of God, sons of the Highest, nevertheless we must die like men-- we must go down like the great Prince, Jesus, into death, and must be raised to the newness of life, to spirit conditions, to the divine nature. The Apostle assures us that those living in the end of this age, during the parousia of the Son of man, will not need to sleep--to tarry in the death condition--for the moment of their death will be the moment of their change to glory, honor and immortality, the divine nature.
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JUSTIFIED AND CALLED.
QUESTION.--Can any one be justified and yet not be called? or are all the justified ones called?
Answer.--It is possible for one to be justified and yet not be called. All justified persons are not called.
Abraham and others of the past were "justified by faith," but living before the ransom was given, before the Captain had been perfected, before the Gospel age "call" began, before the new and living way (or new way of life) had been opened up, those grand
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ancient worthies were not called to be members of the Bride class.
"Justification by faith" throughout this Gospel age is merely the first step in the ways of the Lord, now opened to whosoever hath an ear to hear. The second step is consecration, a full surrender of our all to the Lord. We may safely conclude that all who took the first step were welcome to take the second one, and that it would appear the "reasonable service" to all sincere ones who properly appreciated God's mercy in forgiving their sins. Those not thus influenced usually found their faith grow as cold and lifeless as their love, and thus losing their faith were without justification again--part of the unjustified world.
Whoever of the justified were of the right spirit and made consecration of their all during the period of the call, were of the "called ones" mentioned by the Apostle and urged to make their calling and election sure by obedience to their covenant. This same class now, since the end of the "call," are not thus called, but are in a waiting attitude. Knowing from the Scriptures that "many are called but few chosen," they are waiting for an opportunity to take places amongst the "called" as substitutes for some not found worthy.
It would not be unreasonable to suppose that there are hundreds in just such a waiting condition, although the present-day preaching is not very favorable to either justification or consecration: justification through faith in the ransom-sacrifice of Jesus, the only kind, is little understood or taught.
On the other hand there are doubtless thousands in all the denominations of Christendom who have taken both steps (justification and consecration) who are overcharged with cares of this life and whose periods of opportunity gradually expiring leave places for those who seek and pray and hunger to enter into the favor of the "called" class. We have no positive means of knowing who are thus accepted as substitutes, but we think it reasonable to consider three conditions as indicative of such acceptance. (1) A growth in the fruits of the spirit. (2) Activity in serving the Truth to the extent of talents and opportunities. (3) An ability to grasp prominent features of the Truth with considerable clearness.
The question then arises, What about justified believers who have consecrated and who may never find a chance as substitutes? We incline to consider these to be few,--that the Lord will give the hearing ear to comparatively few except as there may be an opening for them. However, if any of said class do fail of an opportunity to become substitutes we would be sure that divine love and care would be over them just as surely, and that failing a place in the elect Church through no fault of theirs, these would be given some good portion which would much more than reward and satisfy them.